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Tue Oct 23, 2012, 12:42 PM

US Patent Office invalidates major Apple patent

From FOSS Patents:
In a non-final Office action the USPTO has declared all 20 claims of Apple's rubber-banding patent (U.S. Patent No, 7,469,381 invalid, including claim 19, which Apple successfully asserted against Samsung in the summer trial in California. In fact, claim 19 is one of several claims to be deemed invalid for two reasons, either one of which would be sufficient on its own.

And AppleInsider:
From the USPTO's examination:
The following rejections are utilized by the Examiner below, referencing the proposed prior art listed on pages 23-85 of the Request:
Rejection A: Claims 1-6, 8-12, 16, 19, and 20 as being anticipated by Lira
Rejection B: Claims 7 and 13-15 as being obvious over Lira
Rejection D: Claims 1-5, 7-13, and 15-20 as being anticipated by Ording

A finding of anticipation means no inventive step was found between the prior art and Apple's '381 patent claims. The company must now prove to the patent office, or the appeals court that the IP was both new and its claimed inventive step is tenable.

Now, this is just a preliminary finding that Apple is of course going to challenge until the end, but the prior art on this one looks pretty solid. It's a great UI feature indeed, but it's neither technically nor conceptually groundbreaking or innovative by any means. And this could be the tip of the iceberg - the complaint with the USPTO was "anonymous" but the smart money is on Google with their newly-released Prior Art Finder. Given Google's datamining expertise this could get interesting.

And yes, invalidating the patent would also retroactively invalidate Apple's wins against Samsung.

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